Rick's Journal

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Technical Difficulties

Well, here is how it played out: We went on the Tracking Expedition out in Cape Cod, and it was really successful and amazing. When we returned, I was all set to upload pictures and stories and showcase our new summer workshops and stuff like that. And that is when the trouble started.

We use Adobe Contribute to make changes or additions to our website, and it began to malfunction. I started to find out why, and learned that I needed to get the latest version of the software. Being that we are a non-profit organization, we had to go through the non-profit and educational department of the company, and then order the software, verify that we are indeed who we say we are, and this took several weeks. People, this stuff takes time!

There is installation, connecting to the website securely and lots of other details that are in the way before I could actually sit here and start this update! Whew!

In between all of this ordering, updating and stuff like that, I managed to visit about eight schools, talk to countless parents, visit some colleges, move the cabin from the lower parking area to the new campsite, built an adirondack lean-to cabin, installed our new bridge railing and deck, started getting the camp road intensely upgraded and countless other big and small projects completed....

And guess what? I didn't do it all by myself, either! I had a lot of help from everyone here at Hawk Circle, and lots of volunteers too. Barry, Luke, Matt, Jerry, Amy, Sean, Lyn, Trista, Dave, Matt and Ryan all kicked butt under pressure, and we excelled and it was good. Come to Hawk Circle and see for yourself. Or just look at the pictures!

But, seriously, back to the Tracking Expedition....

It is hard to describe the feeling of leading someone to seeing more in the forest. To become closer to nature, to the animals, the plants and trees, we spent time with these things. We studied the sands, and the way the sands moved and aged. We studied our own footprints, and those of each other. We tracked in deep leaves and pine needles, finding each footprint by sight and then later, by feel. We went out in the night and experienced the ocean in a storm, and found the red fox who had walked there before us. We gathered kinickkinick, sweet fern, reeds for arrows and beautiful stones and shells.

Frankly, I was amazed at the speed with which every student learned and grew. We challenged and tested each other, even as we practiced reading the very emotion of the person we were following. The last few days we tracked deer, rabbits, skunks, coyotes and crows, and followed these extensively, learning so much about track indentification, varied ageing, animal behavior and how they moved and responded to the landscape, weather, presence of people, cars, birds and other animals. We not only learned intensely but we also played intensely, with whateve was available, and it was good. It was healing. It was powerful. I thought of the countless days of my own training under the relentless guidance of my mentor and teacher Tom Brown, Jr, and how he pushed me to be the best I could be. I thought often of my own independent study of months and months, and how much I learned on my own, in the woods, trails, deserts or mountains, with few people to share my discoveries and I thought of how special it was for us all to be together, learning with each other and being able to talk about what we did, how it felt, and the wonder of it all... I feel truly thankful and blessed to have been a part of it all. Luke Gaillard was so great, so detailed and carefully prepared that it made the trip seem effortless. I learned a lot from his teaching and rolemodeling the very best traits and ideals of what a tracker is. If you get a chance to learn and explore the natural world with Luke, don't walk but run to be a part of it! All in all, it was much too short, and we left so grateful for the land, the learning and the use of Luke's family's house, which gave us a special place to renew ourselves between outings... Thank you so much!

I will write more about the last few weeks here, the school groups, the gardens, the new campsites and stuff like that in a few days. Now that my software is up and running, I can write anytime I want! Until then, have a great day!